Bangladesh and the United Kingdom are considering signing a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation. Expressing satisfaction at the record-breaking bilateral trade of $6.4 billion in 2022-23 and $561 million FDI from the UK, the highest from any country in 2022, Bangladesh and the UK agreed to create new institutional cooperation to promote business, trade and investments. The issues were discussed at the 5th Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue held in Dhaka on September 12. Momen offers condolence to people and govt of Libya over deadly flood The Dialogue, led respectively by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and UK FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton, reviewed the entire gamut of historic relations between the two Commonwealth nations, including political, economic, security and defence, migration and mobility, climate and development partnerships. Under-Secretary Sir Barton commended the remarkable socio-economic progress and resilient economic growth achieved by Bangladesh over the past decade. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary commended the UK’s sustained market-access support to Bangladesh as its 3rd largest export destination and urged for its extension until 2029 and beyond following Bangladesh’s scheduled LDC graduation in 2026. Both sides also agreed to explore signing of an MoU on cooperation in cybersecurity. They acknowledged their long-standing value-based ties since 1971 and recalled the historic visit of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to London on January 8, 1972. Under-Secretary Sir Barton expressed his deep appreciation for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation in the State Funeral of UK’s late monarch Queen Elizabeth II and the historic royal coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The Bangladesh side expressed hope that King Charles III would reschedule his postponed visit to Bangladesh at his earliest convenience, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday. Bangladesh and the UK agreed on enhancing migration and mobility cooperation especially in gainful employment in the nursing, hospitality, agricultural, construction and masonry and other services sectors in the UK. Commonwealth ministers pay homage at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum Both sides agreed to constitute a ‘Joint Working Group’ to discuss migration, mobility and mutual recognition of qualifications. They also agreed to sign an SoP on returns of Bangladeshi nationals in irregular situation in the UK. Bangladesh thanked the UK Government for a significant increase in issuance of student, visit and business visas in 2022. The two sides also discussed mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Recalling the Climate Accord signed between Bangladesh and the UK in March this year, both sides expressed their determination to cooperate in climate action bilaterally and multilaterally. They also agreed to sign a Joint Action Plan with time-bound activities under the Climate Accord towards a net-zero and nature-positive world. The Bangladesh side expressed commitment to forge ahead with its national targets under SDG 16 for building a just, peaceful and inclusive society. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary reiterated Bangladesh’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization. Both sides agreed to intensify cooperation and capacity building on global and regional security issues of mutual interest including maritime and aviation safety and security in the Indian Ocean as well as countering extremist and terrorist outfits. The UK commended Bangladesh’s leading contribution to world peace under UN peacekeeping missions, especially praising one of the highest contributions of female peacekeepers by Bangladesh. Bangladesh's hearing at ITLOS on submission by Small Island States on Wednesday The two countries expressed satisfaction at the First Defence Dialogue held in 2022 and agreed to sign an MoU on defence cooperation during the 2nd Dialogue in London. The UK appreciated Bangladesh’s generous hosting of Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bangladesh appreciated UK’s humanitarian and political support to the Rohingya crisis including at the UN Security Council and Commonwealth. Both sides expressed concern over the protracted Rohingya crisis and reaffirmed commitment to working closely towards a voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. Emphasizing the importance of international accountability of the atrocities committed on the Rohingyas, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary thanked the UK for joining the Rohingya justice case at the ICJ. The UK side welcomed Bangladesh’s recently announced ‘Indo-Pacific Outlook’. Both sides agreed to forge new partnerships towards ensuring a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific for shared prosperity. Bangladesh and the UK agreed to intensify cooperation in different regional and multilateral fora including at the UN, Commonwealth, IMO and IORA. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem and British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cooke joined their respective delegations along with representatives from various ministries and agencies of the two countries. The next round of Strategic Dialogue is expected to be held in London in 2024.
PM to visit Rome later this month to attend UN Food Systems Summit; bilateral deals on energy, migration likely
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit Rome, Italy later this month to discuss bilateral issues and attend the UN Food Systems Summit. The 2023 UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment will be held in Rome, Italy on July 24-26 at the premises of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It will be hosted by Italy in collaboration with the Rome-based UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, and the wider UN system. The Prime Minister is scheduled to be in Rome from July 23, said a diplomatic source. Also read: PM Hasina to visit Japan on April 25-28 She is likely to have a bilateral meeting with her Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni during the visit. PM Hasina will speak at the Food System Summit in Rome while her Italy visit is likely to see the signing of half a dozen bilateral documents in the areas of energy, migration, ICT and cyber security. Bangladesh and Italy have been discussing a possible memorandum of understanding (MoU ) on mobility and migration — to encourage regular migration and prevent irregular ones. “We want to go further in our cooperation on migration issues. In particular, creating and enlarging the existing legal channels or legal pathways for migration while stemming the irregular one,” Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh Enrico Nunziata told UNB in an interview recently. Also read: PM leaves Geneva for home ending 3-day visit The envoy said the two countries have to deepen cooperation for preventing irregular migration, trafficking and so on. Ambassador Nunziata recalled one of the deliverables during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Italy in 2020 — reinsertion of Bangladesh in the list of countries whose nationals can benefit from a quota for work. Talking about collaboration in the defence sector, he said there is possibility of collaboration and transfer of know-how as well on a win-win basis. “So this is another important sector.” The ambassador said a memorandum of understanding in the cultural sphere for programmes of cultural exchanges is also in the pipeline. Also read: PM to brief media on the outcome of her Switzerland visit on Wednesday The Italian ambassador also said they want to collaborate in the shipbuilding industry for the Navy or Coast Guard by sharing know-how and technologies with Bangladesh. “I mean that level of know-how that Bangladesh has not reached in shipbuilding yet. Together we can do more on that in shipbuilding as well as in other sectors.” The 2023 UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment will build on the momentum of the 2021 Food Systems Summit and will create a conducive space for countries to review commitments to action that were made during the Summit, share stories of success and early signs of transformation, maintain the momentum for bold acceleration and bold action to further the resilience of food systems, advocate for their adaptation to climate change, ensure they contribute to communities’ resilience to further shocks and crises, and boost the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more: PM Hasina leaves for Geneva to attend World of Work Summit
The Hydrocarbon Unit of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to enhance research and capacity building in the country’s energy sector. The two organisations signed the deal at a function at BUET on Monday where State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Division Nasrul Hamid was present as chief guest. Welcoming the agreement, the state minister said that this will help the Hydrocarbon Unit to prepare accurate data and a proper plan for the energy sector. The MoU will also expand the field of research in the energy sector, he said. Read more: Hydrocarbon Unit signs MoU with BUET to enhance research in energy sector “Coordinated initiatives are necessary to ensure a sustainable energy system,” Hamid added. He underscored the need for a coordinated network of researchers, academics and professionals to make a plan successful. Success will certainly be achieved if the planning and activities are carried out by estimating the needs of the future, he added. With BUET Vice-Chancellor Professor Satya Prasad Majumdar in the chair, the event was also addressed, among others, by Energy Secretary Dr Md Khairuzzaman Majumder, BUET Vice-Chancellor Professor Abdul Jabbar Khan, Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Director Professor Farsim Mannan Mohammadi and Director General of Hydrocarbon Unit Tahmina Yasmin. Read more: Plan to float int’l bidding for offshore hydrocarbon exploration dropped before election
The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh and the Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo of Portugal (AICEP) or the Trade and Investment Agency of Portugal have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on trade and investment cooperation online. The MoU, signed Thursday, will focus on strengthening economic relations between the two countries by promoting trade and industry as well as by bringing together business leaders from all sectors of the economy. At the ceremony held simultaneously at two institutions, EPB Vice-Chairman AHM Ahsan in Dhaka and AICEP Chairman and CEO Luís Castro Henriques in Lisbon signed the MoU. Through this MoU, the AICEP and EPB aim to collaborate on developing direct business relations between their respective business communities of the two nations. Also Read: Portugal church sex abuse study: victims may number 4,800 It will also promote the exchange of economic, trade and business information and entrepreneurial experience between the two organisations and help them undertake actions to support each other in the development of fairs and symposiums, conferences and other events aimed at expanding the bilateral trade and economic cooperation, said the Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon on Friday. It is expected that both organisations will facilitate sending business missions between the two countries to examine the prospects for cooperation in industry and trade. Also Read: Bangladesh seeks Portugal's investment, expertise in blue economy, wind power generation Henriques hoped that both organisations of the two friendly countries would work closely for furthering business cooperation. "This is only the beginning. My institution is ready to explore areas of cooperation under this framework. There is a huge untapped business potential between the two countries on which the two countries can work," he added. Ahsan said this is the first cooperation MoU on business cooperation in the history of Bangladesh-Portugal bilateral relations. Also Read: EU’s EBA Scheme for LDCs: Portugal terms Bangladesh best success story He hoped that now business communities from both countries would get the opportunity to work closely which will "certainly in turn boost the bilateral trade and investment of the two nations." Ambassador Tarik Ahsan congratulated both the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh and Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal on this momentous decision to tie up for a partnership. Referring to the historic linkage between the countries, Bangladesh Ambassador to Portugal Tarik Ahsan said the people of Bangladesh and Portugal have been connected since the early 16 century. On the Lisbon side of the ceremony, Manuel António Gaeiras, director of external relations and foreign markets, Maria José Alvarenga, deputy director of external relations and foreign markets, Daniel Pontes, market manager of external relations and foreign markets, of AICEP and First Secretary of Bangladesh Embassy Alamgeer Hossain were also present. On the Dhaka side, EPB Director General Mahbubur Rahman, Director General of the West Europe and EU wing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Kazi Russel Pervez, and others attended the signing ceremony.
Bangladesh has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) under the Education Above All Foundation project. The signing of the MoU is considered a milestone in accessing finance to the QFFD. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and QFFD Director General Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Kuwari signed the MoU during the sideline event of the LDC5 Conference in Doha Tuesday at the Qatar National Conference Center. According to the deal, Qatar will channel funds through the QFFD to support the education sector in Bangladesh by expanding opportunities for 6.5 lakh out-of-school children at the primary level with $12.68 lakh. The project would be conducted by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. Momen was delegated to sign the contract on behalf of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. Education Above All is an outreach program conducted in some countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia under the QFFD having an annual budget of $600 million. Qatar aims to provide this assistance to the LDCs to fulfil their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its commitment to international cooperation under the Qatar National Vision 2030. Qatar Charity, another humanitarian organisation, conducts some humanitarian assistance and relief support to the Rohingya and marginalised people in various places in Bangladesh.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, who is on a two-day bilateral visit to Eswatini, the southern African country formerly known as Swaziland, had a meeting with Business Eswatini representatives in Mbabane Tuesday. Business Eswatini is the federation of chambers of commerce and industry of Eswatini as well as the federation of the employers association of Eswatini – a bit like Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and the Employers Federation rolled into one. The apex chamber represents agriculture, textiles, mining, financial services and other business bodies. The Bangladesh state minister urged Business Eswatini to develop relations with their Bangladeshi counterparts. Citing Bangladesh as a very suitable destination for business and investment, Alam mentioned the growing purchasing power of Bangladeshi consumers as well as the rapidly growing middle class in the country. He referred to the various industries like textiles, pharmaceuticals and other sectors where cooperation may be forged. Both sides recognised the role of business women in the economic sectors and agreed to establish exchanges between women entrepreneurs. The CEO of Business Eswatini, Nathi Dlamini, invited Bangladeshi businessmen to do business as well as to invest in Eswatini, saying the country is a stable one with a skilled labour force. He also presented a draft MoU to the Bangladesh side for consideration of the FBCCI. Also, the chamber suggested establishing joint ventures between Bangladesh and Eswatini entrepreneurs. Read more: FBCCI to host Bangladesh Business Summit 2023 from March 11 to 13
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and SOWTEX have signed another memorandum of understanding (MoU) to increase the collaboration between Indian fabrics and value-added material suppliers and Bangladesh's apparel manufacturers. Namely, they aim to boost collaboration in man-made fibers and cotton-based materials using SOWTEX Phygital (physical and digital bridge) sourcing platform. The platform offers connection and facilitation support to the large textile supply chain from India and other countries. It will also create opportunities to increase Bangladesh's readymade (RMG) exports to India, the BGMEA said Thursday (January 12, 2023). Read more: BGMEA, IICCI, Sowtex team up to make textile sourcing easier for Bangladesh BGMEA President Faruque Hassan and Sowtex Network CEO Sonil Jain inked the MoU in Dhaka on Wednesday. BGMEA Standing Committee on Press, Publication and Publicity Chair Shovon Islam was also present. SOWTEX and BGMEA are in the process of arranging collaborative roadshows in Indian textile clusters along with other textile associations with BGMEA's top manufacturing members and large Indian raw materials manufacturers in several cities in India. Expos have also been planned in Bangladesh to build up the momentum for this second round of collaboration. Read More: BGMEA signs deal to improve health status of RMG workers The exhibitions will play an important role in facilitating business interactions between Bangladeshi RMG exporters and Indian RMG, textile and raw materials suppliers and reaping mutual trade benefits, the BGMEA said.
Dhaka University (DU) and the Istanbul University of Turkey have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in teaching and research, exchange of academics and students, and partnership in scholarly publications. DU Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman and Istanbul University Rector Professor Mahmut AK signed the agreement Wednesday. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen was also present at the online programme. Masud Bin Momen said: "The results of such initiatives are very positive and far-reaching, which can help further accelerate the political, economic and educational cooperation between the two countries." Professor Mahmut said: "Many Bangladeshi students are now studying at Istanbul University. The signing of the MoU will increase the educational and research cooperation between the two universities, which will elevate the friendly bilateral ties a step further." Read more: DU, UPSI sign MoU to set up Centre for Malay Studies Mohammed Nore-Alam, consul general at the Consulate General of Bangladesh in Istanbul, hoped that Bangladesh-Turkey ties would be further deepened and strengthened through the initiative.
Bangladesh and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Bahrain on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue. Under this MoU, both sides will hold regular consultations for political, economic, cultural, people-to-people contact, climate change, agriculture, food security and environment protection cooperation. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and GCC Secretary General Nayem Falah M Al-Hajraf signed the MoU Friday. Before that, the foreign minister and the GCC secretary general had a meeting. At the meeting, Ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams, secretary (east) of the foreign ministry, Bangladesh Ambassador to Bahrain Md Nazrul Islam and concerned officials of Bangladesh and GCC were present. The secretary-general thanked the foreign minister for his invitation to visit Bangladesh. He expressed his willingness to visit Bangladesh at his convenient time. Read more: Special move is under way for return of Bangladeshi workers to Bahrain: Envoy He said the MoU would work as the legal framework for cooperation between Bangladesh and GCC through a joint action plan, joint working group and technical team, joint business council and forums of GCC with Bangladesh. The foreign minister emphasised that Bangladesh and GCC have a lot of scope to work together for skill development, food security, energy security, climate change, crisis management, peace management, afforestation and IT cooperation, and preferential trade agreement or free trade agreement. Reada more: Bangladesh requests Bahrain to recruit more skilled workers, IT professionals
Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed a bilateral document on ‘Route to Mecca’ which will ease visit of Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims to the kingdom. Under Route to Mecca service agreement, Hajis (Pilgrims) would be able to complete their immigration in Dhaka prior to their departure to Saudi Arabia. Bangladesh is the first country with whom Saudi Arabia has signed Route to Mecca service agreement considering "excellent relations" between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, said the government. Another MoU on secirtuy cooperation was also singed between the two countries. Read more: Joint working group to resolve passport renewal issues of Bangladeshis living in Saudi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan briefed reporters after a meeting with visiting Deputy Minister of Interior of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al Dawood at the Home Ministry on Sunday. Security cooperation includes capacity building, skills development and exchange of visits between members of the security forces. The Home Minister said earlier Bangladeshis had to wait in long queues for the immigration process to go to Saudi Arabia for performing Hajj. But from now, the immigration process for going to KSA for Hajj will be completed in Dhaka due to signing ‘Route to Mecca’ MOU . About Rohingya issue, the Home Minister said that about three lakh Rohingyas are staying in Saudi Arabia and many of them have Bangladeshi passports. “The Saudi government wanted the renewal of their passports. We have given them assurance to consider the issue. Besides, we also sought the cooperation of the Saudi government to send the Rohingyas back to Myanmar,” he said. Read more: Saudi Arabia assures assistance in commercial supply of LNG to Bangladesh